How to Make a Battery With Household Stuff

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Electricity is a popular subject that kids often study in science classes, and children are thrilled when they are able to produce electricity using common items found around the house. A battery is basically metal surrounded by an acid that then causes electricity to be formed as one metal has a positive charge and the other a negative charge. Once the circuit is completed, electricity is formed. Making a battery out of household stuff is a great experiment for homeschoolers or for a science fair.

Things You'll Need

  • Lemon juice
  • Pennies
  • Dimes
  • Paper towels
  • Cardboard
  • Salt
  • Aluminum foil
  • Water
  • Rubber-coated wires
  • Tape

Method One: The Simple Battery

  • Cut the paper towel into 1 inch by 1 inch pieces and soak them in the lemon juice. Make sure the towels are completely wet.

  • Stack the five dimes and five pennies in the following order: dime, paper towel, penny, paper towel, and so forth until all the towels and coins are stacked. Do not cover the top or the bottom of the coin stack with a paper towel.

  • Wet your thumb and middle finger in lemon juice then pick up the stack of coins between the two fingers. You will feel a minor tingle or shock through your hand as you are completing the circuit and producing electricity.

Method Two: A More Complex Battery

  • Dissolve 3 tablespoons of salt into a bowl of water. Make sure the salt dissolves completely.

  • Trace a penny 20 times onto the cardboard and again onto the aluminum foil. Cut out the cardboard and foil circles.

  • Place the cardboard circles into the bowl of salt water and soak for at least 20 minutes. Remove the cardboard from the water and stack it, alternating penny, cardboard, and foil until all the all the foil and cardboard circles are used. Make sure the stack ends with a penny on top. Wrap tape around the stack to hold it in place.

  • Cut two 4-inch long pieces of wire and strip 1 inch of the rubber covering from the wires at each end. Tape the end of one wire to the top penny and the end of the other wire to the bottom penny.

  • Turn out the lights and touch the untaped ends of the wires together. You will produce a spark. You can make a larger stack of pennies, cardboard, and foil to make a more powerful battery that produces a brighter spark.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try using different acidic substances, such as vinegar, to see how it affects your battery.
  • Only do battery experiments with an adult present.

References

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